Last week we expressed our concern over the sorry state of political discourse on this campus, particularly between both the College Democrat and College Republican organizations. Evidently our suggestion for a more meaningful debate that goes beyond senseless squabbling was not heard by the Republican protesters during the Maine State College Democrats Convention.
It is one thing to rally in support of a cause, but quite another to be disrespectful while doing so. The behavior of those protesting on Saturday afternoon, which included banging on the windows of Lancaster Lounge during Governor Baldacci's keynote address and then chasing his vehicle, was, frankly, disgusting. It was behavior as immature and crude as the College Democrats' convention was professional and levelheaded. It adds nothing to our appreciation of the issues at stake in this election, contributing only to a creeping suspicion that the actions of some are more about ego than about substance.
Perhaps the incident's most troubling aspect is that the embarrassment it heaps upon the College Republicans seems totally lost on its top leadership. The group's chairman, Alex Linhart '06, claims that the protesters' intention was to "make sure that people know that Bowdoin is Bush country." Needless to say, that this campus has been overrun by supporters of President Bush comes as news to us.
Linhart and his colleagues ought to realize that disruptive and inane protests devoid of any substantive content undermine their efforts to actually make Bowdoin "Bush country." Furthermore, when such protests occur in the face of the state's chief executive, they stand to undermine Bowdoin's reputation as well.
Again, it remains our hope that the waning weeks of this campaign season are powered by the promise of new ideas, not the cruelty of caricature. Sadly, this past Saturday's events suggest such an improvement may be beyond the capability of some on campus.